What Car? Personal Shopper: hybrid SUV for £30,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top recommended choice and some new and used alternatives to consider, and we'll even tell you how...

Lexus NX

Buying used

  • Our recommended choice: 2017 Lexus NX300h 2.5 Sport
  • Price: £28,992
  • Mileage: 6105
Lexus NX

The NX is undoubtedly one of the better hybrid SUVs out there. Integration of the petrol and electric motors is very good and, with the smooth CVT automatic gearbox, acceleration is seamless. Around town, the NX’s ride is a little choppy, but on the motorway it smooths out. And if you’re gentle with the accelerator – avoiding the tendency of the engine to scream under hard acceleration – it’s quiet, too.

Inside, there’s a beautifully appointed interior that, while hampered by a fiddly infotainment system, is otherwise a pleasure to sit in and use. And the good news is that a nearly new NX can easily be had for well within your budget; the one we’ve found is just one year old with 6,000 miles, meaning it’s barely used – and because all Lexus cars come with a five-year warranty, it actually has a year more left to run of its manufacturer guarantee than the Mini.

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Read our used Lexus NX review

  • Also consider: 2018 Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid Dynamic
  • Price: £26,499
  • Mileage: 1000
Toyota C-HR

It may be smaller and less spacious than the NX, but that means the C-HR is more nimble and easier to manoeuvre in town. What’s more, your budget will get you an almost-new example of this Dynamic model, which comes loaded with equipment. You also get eye-catching styling, both inside and out, and the same five-year warranty.

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Read our used Toyota C-HR review

  • Also consider: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  • Price: £29,995
  • Mileage: 3000
Used Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Want to be able to plug your hybrid in? Then the Outlander PHEV is worth a look. Equipment levels and space are this chunky SUV’s biggest upsides; it’s a bit agricultural to drive, mind you, and not all that efficient. Even so, if you want a big, family-friendly plug-in SUV for this budget, alternative options are few and far between.